The Detroit Tigers are on pace for even fewer wins than last year’s club, who lost 98 games for the second season in a row. They have had some strong performances, as every team does, while others have faltered. The 2019 Tigers have been particularly snakebitten by injuries in their starting rotation and middle infield. Four of their projected five starters from the preseason, and both of the middle infielders in their Opening Day lineup, are currently on the disabled list. And since we here at Bless You Boys are just a giant jinx, even mentioning the starting rotation led to setbacks for both Tyson Ross and Jordan Zimmermann in their respective rehabs.
Let’s say the Tigers were to get some help, though. We’re not talking Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, or some other fantasy addition. Instead, our sights are a bit more modest — though maybe not all that much, considering James McCann is earning some All-Star voting love for his strong performance in 2019.
Today’s Question of the Day is a bit nostalgic.
If you could bring one player from last year’s roster back to the Tigers, who would it be?
My answer: While McCann and his 131 wRC+ are tempting, I think I would rather the Tigers have shortstop Jose Iglesias back in the fold. The Tigers have been decimated by injuries in their infield this year, with both Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison on the shelf for most of the year. Harold Castro and Ronny Rodriguez have both gotten extended playing time up the middle, one of the many reasons why the Tigers are 15 games under .500.
While Iglesias isn’t having an All-Star caliber season, he would be a big upgrade over Detroit’s current shortstop situation. Tigers shortstops have managed an 85 wRC+ and -9 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in 2019, while Iglesias is at 91 and +6, respectively. He would also be one of the more fun Tigers players to watch, in no small part thanks to his sparkling defensive work.
Plus, it seems as if McCann’s success may be in part due to a change in scenery. His batted ball profile has not changed all that much and he is currently sporting a .405 BABIP — meaning I don’t think his success will last — but he has cut his strikeout and soft contact rates, and is back to his usual lefty-mashing self. Even if he falls off in the second half, he should finish with some of the best offensive numbers of his career.